Mirek Siedliski is Activities Coordinator at Accent Paris and works closely with each Paris program to coordinate the many visits and tours that make each student’s experience abroad unique. What makes Mirek himself so unique is that, in addition to coordinating these activities, he leads many of the tours himself. Mirek is a guide-conférencier, or licensed guide, with more than 20 years’ experience designing and leading tours in Paris and across France. He recently attended an event at La Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin in Dijon organized by the French national guides association.
In November 2010, UNESCO officially added French gastronomy to its representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and five years later, the vineyards of Burgundy made the World Heritage List. In response to these declarations, the French government committed itself to protecting and promoting these precious resources. Next year, La Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin will officially open in Dijon.
Located on the edge of the city’s historic center and at the start of the Route des grands crus, a road linking Dijon and Beaune, the center of the region’s wine trade, La Cité will offer a wide variety of activities, from cooking classes to conferences and lectures, oenology courses to fine dining in four different restaurants, all across 1700 square meters of exhibition space dedicated to French gastronomy, wine making, and the importance of wine in the French cultural heritage.
In addition to La Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin, other regional opportunities in food studies include visits to a family-operated snail farm as well as facilities that produce mustard, cheeses, and gingerbread using traditional processes and centuries-old recipes. Perhaps the most unique opportunity would be to participate in a truffle tasting alongside the dogs and trainers that dig up the culinary treasures, discussing the dog training process and, season permitting, participating in a hunt.
As Accent and our partners plan for programs in 2019 and beyond, Burgundy and the new Cité provide a unique opportunity to study French culture, gastronomy, and wine, as well as the many connections between those topics and business, environmental sustainability, and the role of government and institutions like UNESCO in protecting and promoting the resources that have shaped our global, cultural heritage.